Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's the Feminist Penalty for Apostasy?

"The dead are implicated
Implied but never stated
Carve me out those other words to live by, to live by
Yeah, mine's sterilized as well
I never used it, can't you tell?"

KMFDM - Ikons

Atheism is nothing in itself. It's the default position with regards to reality. It should require no definition or explanation. The greater goal must always be rationalism, a state of mind which takes atheism for granted, and atheist movements cannot surrender reason for the sake of a few meager deicides, a few small victories in the present. Alliances of convenience often prove most inconvenient in the long run, and if ever there was a long-term project, trying to instill sanity in the naked ape certainly counts.

Irrationalists will seek a cover of legitimacy for their self-serving doctrines by declaring a common enemy in current religious dogma and making strange political bedfellows of atheists and myth-busters desperate for allies. So atheists always have to be on the lookout for self-described antitheists peddling healing crystals and preaching universal one-ness and astrology, or animal rights activists insisting humans don't have souls but their pet parrots and macaques do, or dreamy-eyed romanticized Orientalism which, while dutifully attacking Christians will serenely sweep Mohammedan crimes under the blanket of anti-Western sentiment and turn a blind eye to the sadomasochistic side of Hinduism and its offshoots. We're not all one big happy family here on "the left" and not everything popularly labeled "liberal" is in truth freedom-loving or free-thinking.

Like most people, I was born into a religious society in which the existence of the almighty was taken for granted, imbibed as soon as we could understand speech from grandparents' fables and storybooks. Religious iconography adorned at least one wall in most houses and my heaviest, glossiest book in second grade was a children's bible. Then, around ten to twelve years of age, I became an apostate - not due to any violent trauma nor any singular moment of enlightenment, but simply because the lies with which I'd been raised gradually became apparent. It ranked as rather uneventful in the events of my early life, except for a lingering fear, a tightening of my shoulders whenever I entered or passed by a church that maybe, just maybe there had been something to all that babbling about devils and angels and I might spontaneously combust. Luckily the religious society in which I attained nihilism with regards to primitive sky-gods wasn't one of those where they behead you for your trouble... any more.

I quote a process familiar to most atheists. Very, very few are born into non-religious environments. Most of us must actively choose reality over convenient feel-good fantasy. No mere innocent ignorants, we, but apostates, and should wear the badge proudly. We struggled through the choking miasma of early indoctrination and came out the other side all the better for it.

Like most people, I was also born into a society which considers women "the fairer sex" and derides males as strong but also brutish, primitive and undeserving of empathy, much less sympathy, even while yoking them to the role of work-horse in the traditionalist family unit. I grew up with the primitive naked ape protectiveness of the tribe's females reinforced by centuries of chivalrous indoctrination to never hit a girl, always protect women, always do all work I was permitted to do in place of women (except that explicitly proscribed as "woman's work") to buy things for women, to do what my mother tells me and to always be ten times more polite and abashed when in the presence of women for fear of hurting their more evolved sensibilities. As I declared myself a modern man in junior high, I found that shifting from this primordial protector-of-weak-women narrative to protector-of-strong-women and the primordial male guilt narrative of feminism came as naturally as diving into alien abduction conspiracy stories after I'd stopped believing in gawd a-mighteh. The sexual repression of Christian courtship rituals transitioned seamlessly into the feminist condemnation of men's sex drive and unending rape panic.

All of us under fifty have grown up with feminist propaganda. Those under thirty have grown up with a media culture so saturated with feminist iconography that it's been impossible to flip on any major TV station without being inundated by images of valiant, innocent women fighting back against cackling, moustache-twirling male oppressors. The many avatars of Homer Simpson, the dumb bumbling males being suffered by attractive, well-spoken, condescending, morally superior women, have screamed their abuse at us from the cradle. If negative stereotyping of women on the scale of the Lifetime channel's negative stereotyping of men had been carried out by any major station within our lifetimes, Disney's doors would've been kicked in decades ago. We've watched obedient facetious niceness replace obedient stern competitiveness in schools and we've seen bulletproof women persist in workplace roles in which they're utterly incompetent, for fear of discrimination lawsuits. We've sat in college courses where female figures of authority teaching predominantly female classes wail and moan about male oppression. We've watched "men are evil" become the law of the land. We've been told to shut up. Look away. Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain. Say ten Hail Marys in penance for your thought crimes against female moral authority.

Born into this faith, some of us abandon it as we did the previous one. Modern feminism is a fundamentalist creed like any other. It establishes an absolute good (female) and an absolute evil (male) and thrives by selling its listeners the moral panic and entitlement of becoming saved by acceptance into the one true faith. It holds no compunctions against lying to promote its cause because it believes itself the moral center of the universe, the holy light in whose service any number of indulgences may be issued. No amount of favoritism perpetrated on behalf of the good against the evil can ever be enough in the race toward the rapture and an eternal kingdom of beatific feminism. It dredges up decontextualized male crimes of generations past out of their chivalrous milieu to browbeat new generations of young men already walking on eggshells for fear of bringing offense to women with the mythicized sins of their fathers. It ignores even basic biology in favor of its anti-male mythology and cheerfully proclaims the extermination of males (#killallmen) with the most serene psychopathy. The phrase "I'm a feminist" is delivered with the same self-righteous expectation of immunity from criticism as any redneck's "ah'm a Chreeshchun" and those calling themselves such have long passed into the predictable crusading stage of any fundamentalist creed attempting to subsume all other social movements into its fold. See "intersectional" feminism.

I wrote this post after running across this video by the relatively well known anti-theist speaker AronRa (three years old at this point) in which he recounts his childhood under the old abusive traditionalism. Then, in an eerie and jaw-dropping display of doublethink, instead of acknowledging the sadistic brainwashing inflicted upon boys in the name of masculinity and that traditional societies abuse both men and women to mold them into the family unit, he launches into a feeble attempt to square the old system off against feminism, as though the two were the only existing poles of a binary system. As though the only alternative were a self-described opposite. This is the reaction I used to get as a teenager back in the '90s in the U.S. when I mentioned atheism. Aron Ra himself knows it damn well, having recounted it in other videos.
"Boy, you one a-dem Satanists?"
It's a fundamentalist reaction. The only way to escape Hell is through God and anything not of God must be The Devil. Anything not feminist must be reactionary misogyny? Such rhetoric carries a nasty reek of the proselyte's abject submission (by no means unique to this one speaker but common in those who converted from right to left wing) of "once was lost but now am found" and refusal to criticize that which once accepted as part of some trinity of saving grace becomes self-justification.

Feminism is nothing new. It's a warmed-over re-hashing of original sin with Adam's apple once more taking center stage but testicles playing the role of The Devil. Those of us who hold predominantly leftist views (antitheism, environmentalism, equal opportunity, a certain degree of socialism and anarchism, scientific progress, etc.) but have also turned against feminism have usually done so through the same process through which we turned against religion, corporatism or state authoritarianism. We lived in the faith, chanting its prayers and commercials and oaths of allegiance, yearning for its reinforcement, for a pat on the head for being pro-woman, until gradually the fallacies of its core claims became too glaring to ignore and its abuses too grating. We saw in this creed one of the shadows of God of which Nietzsche warned. We went one goddess further.

As far as AronRa's speech, what finally clicked into place for me was his mention of Gloria Steinem, suddenly bringing to mind this old video and her stunning rationalization of her involvement with the CIA. It runs the usual course of the true believer's self-justification: anything which serves the faith must be good.

The CIA supported feminism.
... but anything calling itself feminism is liberal, always and forever. It must be. This is absolute dogma.
Therefore it can't be that feminism was never all that liberal, that in its absolutist proposition of women as victims of men, of men's original sin against women to be expiated only by adherence to feminist women's demands, it only used and reinforced chivalry and other older methods of social control, a new velvet glove for the old iron fist of sexual repression, a means by the powerful to divide and conquer.
It must be, according to her, that the CIA is liberal. Clearly. The fucking CIA! The old secret police before the NSA and Homeland Security, secretive, above-the-law murderers and torturers in service of the establishment, the eyes and ears of Big Brother, must somehow be "liberal" because while setting up theocratic or corporatist puppet dictatorships across the world and training foreign death squads and at that very same time being immersed in a fourteen-year program dedicated to infiltrating, undermining and tearing apart any domestic left-wing movements, must somehow qualify as liberal for paying off her holiness Gloria Steinem! Hallelujah! It can't be the other way around, because we all know feminism is the one true light of justification.

If the various props, tools and weapons of feminism were mere "trivialities" as Aron Ra describes them then feminists themselves should have no trouble abandoning their superstitions. They are of course not, and for an example of their negative impact you can watch Texas' shaggiest antitheist himself commit his auto da fe. A man who in other contexts will mercilessly attack "Flintstones archaeology" finds himself praising Steinem, one of the Grand Mistresses of that trade guild of self-promoting con artists who have preached, among other atrocities, the existence of a staggeringly elusive multi-millennial worldwide (or at the very least pan-Eurasian) pre-Greek matriarchal golden age of peace, love and prosperity centered in Minoan Crete, based on archaeological evidence so flimsy as to make Ken Ham blush.
I've heard it remarked that faith makes otherwise rational people do irrational things.
Yes, yes it certainly does.

Repeat the mantra. Man bad, woman good. In Dworkin we trust. The faithful are saved and the heretic shall be cast into the pit. All who accept divine grace, no matter how wicked, shall be granted absolution.

Atheism hinges on rationalism. It cannot retain credibility while kow-towing to an insidiously abusive dogmatic poison which declares half the population guilty by birth and demands constant penance and tribute and the adoption of exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies as slogans. Atheism by itself is not the point. Rationalism is, and feminism is not rational. It's the left wing's answer to Fox News, an anti-intellectual, self-serving, ever more apocryphal set of scriptures designed to establish sinecures for cheap revival tent prophets with humanities degrees who sell their audience entitlement and fabricate moral panics like a "rape culture" or "war on women" to whip the populace into line. Accepting such disease as part and parcel of atheism or "the left" - whatever that means these days - is inherently self-defeating. It undermines the very principles of reason and equality by which we attack religion. As though anyone could doubt that feminism, with its oft-proven penchant for phantasmagorical mythopoesis like "women created civilization" and menstrual moon worship would not birth (parthenogenetically, I presume) new, very literal theocracies as soon as it tore down the old ones.

The call for uncritical conformity, while it will occasionally be voiced, is not to be given credence within skeptical or rationalist movements. It was wrong of Christopher Hitchens to preach unity behind the child king Bush II in his middle-eastern crusade and it is wrong of Aron Ra (and many others) to preach adherence to the feminist doctrines of original masculine sin for the sake of unity. Skepticism carries an inherently anarchist undertone in its denial of authorities. He knows damn well we kids playing the home game are going to call bullshit on that and admitted it in the caveat before his speech and yet... can't help himself. The old mantras still sound so good, bring such comfort. Why take people's faith away from them?

We need gender equality. We must be able to criticize women for their unanalyzed instinctive behavior patterns just as we criticize men; we must be able to criticize femininity as we criticize masculinity. Above all we need to attack the irrational chauvinistic glorification of women and femininity, feminism. We need anti-feminism. You activists need it precisely because of feminism's tarnished halo, its undeserved privileged seat at the heart of rationalist social movements, not despite it, and if this comes at the cost of abandoning your delusion of the big happy family of leftism, then so be it.

It's just one goddess further to go.

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